Preliminary hospital concept revealed for Hwy. 36 and Manning

This image shows a preliminary concept of what a hospital campus could look like at the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 36 and Manning Avenue, where Lakeview Hospital recently agreed to purchase 68 acres of property. The Stillwater City Council reviewed the concept June 6 and reacted favorably. (Image by BWBR)

The public got its first glimpse last week of the concept for a possible Lakeview Hospital campus at the northeast corner of Highway 36 and Manning Avenue.

In mid-May Lakeview announced that it was purchasing 68 acres of land at the highly visible site for an undisclosed price. It anticipates closing on the purchase before the end of the year.

On June 6, hospital representatives presented the concept of a medical campus at the site to the Stillwater City Council for comment, and the council reacted favorably.

Tim Sessions of BWBR Architects outlined a general site plan, noting that the ideas were “very, very preliminary.”

In designing the potential campus, he said, his team will take into account the fact that Highway 36 to the south is a very active zone, but to the north of the site lies a residential neighborhood.

Sessions said the hospital wants to keep the northern part of its campus quieter and be cognizant of the neighbors.

The concept shows a Curve Crest Boulevard extension running along the southern portion of the site and intersecting with Manning Avenue. Just north of the Curve Crest extension the concept shows parking and a medical office building. The hospital is in the middle of the site, with patient beds overlooking an existing pond in the northern portion of the site.

“We go from a very active zone to the parking and driving zone, to the hospital zone, and the patient beds and things would then look out over that pond area,” Sessions said.

The concept shows a 150,000-square-foot hospital building, with a 50,000-square-foot lower level. It also includes a bed tower with three floors, for a total of 96 beds, and a 25,000-square-foot ambulatory surgical center (outpatient surgery).

In addition to the hospital, the concept plan suggests complementary development on the western portion of the site, such as senior housing or other health and wellness or commercial uses.

Sessions also discussed some of the opportunities and challenges related to the extension of Curve Crest Boulevard and a future interchange at Highway 36 and Manning. The county is in the process of studying the future of the intersection, and the Sessions said the hospital is in communication with the county.

Lakeview CEO Ted Wegleitner told the city council there isn’t a specific timeline for a potential new campus, but the hospital does anticipate the need for growth in coming years.

“We recognized that if, over the next five to 10 years, we’re going to consider a new campus, we had to find the land in Stillwater, out on Highway 36, to kind of protect our future and the future of health care in our community,” he said. “We’ve been here since 1878 — one of the two or three oldest hospitals in the state — so we did not want to leave.”

He also said Lakeview serves, to a degree, as a regional hub hospital for the St. Croix Valley, and is looking to expand that role.

Wegleitner emphasized that the hospital’s board has not yet approved the development of a new campus on the site.

“What the board has told us is, over the next four years, we would like a detailed feasibility plan, and along with that would be a fundraising plan, as well as a design concept,” he said. “What we’ve done is purchased the property, and now we’re doing the due-diligence. Up ahead of us is feasibility, design, philanthropy.”

As part of the planning process, Wegleitner said Lakeview will consider the needs of the various HealthPartners facilities in Stillwater, including the clinic on Curve Crest

“We will be looking at a facility-wide plan for Lakeview Health System,” he said.

That includes determining what to do with the existing campus on Churchill Street.

Contact Jonathan Young at jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com